Discovering Buddhism is an FPMT study program aimed at giving Buddhist and non-Buddhist students a solid footing in the practice of Mahayana Buddhism. The program is not meant to be an academic study of Buddhism, it is meant to change our daily lives through experiential training in meditation and thought transformation.
Our 13-month journey at Lhagsam started September 2, 2021 and ended September 30, 2022!
The DB teachings included articles by our lineage lama and led by Venerable Robina Courtin. Each week, we opened with a guided meditation led by a Lhagsam Facilitator. After the teaching, we held group discussions. Once a month, we held an Intensive Practice Day of meditation on that month’s teachings led by a Lhagsam Facilitator. Occasionally, we hosted great teachers, who shared their knowledge on the topics of our study course such as the Dharma Toolkit by Miffi Maxmillion and Demystifying Tantra by Paula Chichester.
During our 13-month journey, Certificates of Achievement were awarded to students who met the criteria for completing the requirements.
About the teacher
Venerable Robina Courtin, Australian-born, has a powerhouse personality and has been a Buddhist nun for nearly 40 years. Well known for her work with people in prisons, Ven. Robina’s life and work is the subject of the award-winning documentary ‘Chasing Buddha‘. She teaches full time around the world at the centers of her teachers’ organization, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). Read more.
The 14 Discovering Buddhism Modules
1. Mind and Its Potential
Examine the mind and how it creates happiness and suffering. Learn to transform destructive thoughts and attitudes to create a positive and joyous mind!
2. How to Meditate
Learn the definition and purpose of meditation, how to sit, how to set up a meditation session, different meditation techniques, and how to deal with obstacles to meditation.
3. Presenting the Path
Get an overview of the entire Tibetan Buddhist path to awakening. Study the life story of the Buddha and discover a unique system for putting Buddhist philosophy into practice – the lam-rim, or “graduated path to enlightenment.”
4. The Spiritual Teacher
Investigate the role of the teacher on the spiritual path: the need for a teacher, the qualities of teacher and student, and how to relate to a teacher for greatest benefit.
5. Death and Rebirth
Explore the process of death and rebirth and its impact on how we live our lives. Learn to fulfill your purpose in life, resolve conflicts, and develop the skills to help yourself and others at death.
6. All About Karma
Learn the essential facts about the law of cause and effect. Explore ways to deal with life most effectively and take control of your future!
7. Refuge in the Three Jewels
Find out what it means to take refuge in the Three Jewels and the essential practices of refuge. Learn about the advantage of taking lay vows and their role in enhancing our spiritual growth.
8. Establishing a Daily Practice
Assemble the tools you need to develop a successful daily practice and find out the elements necessary to generate realizations. Get some tips for making every action meaningful.
9. Samsara and Nirvana
Investigate what “samsara” is and how we are stuck in it. Find out what “nirvana” is and how to achieve it. Learn how to be free from suffering and empower yourself with practical tools to deal with and eliminate disturbing emotions forever.
10. How to Develop Bodhichitta
Discover practices that develop our innate qualities of compassion. Learn to apply these techniques to generate the mind of bodhichitta, known as the very heart of Buddha’s teachings.
11. Transforming Problems
Learn the disadvantages of self-cherishing and the advantages of cherishing others. Learn to employ the special techniques of mind training (lojong) to transform problems into happiness.
12. Wisdom of Emptiness
The realization of emptiness is crucial for the attainment of liberation and enlightenment. Learn to develop calm abiding and different methods of meditation on emptiness.
13. Introduction to Tantra
Learn what tantra is, how it works, and why it is a powerful form of practice. Get a broad overview of the four classes of tantra and learn to practice simple Kriya tantric methods. Learn to integrate tantra with lam-rim meditation for optimal results.
14. Special Integration Experiences
By undertaking intensive practices of purification and a two-week lam-rim retreat, you prepare your mind in the best way to realize the path to enlightenment. Purification practices include: 100,000 prostrations, 3-month Vajrasattva retreat, and Nyung Nä. This is a great way to seal the blessings of this program!